Reviews for Extras
Booklist Reviews 2008 January #1
This fourth entry in the Uglies series will keep Westerfeld's face rank, to borrow his own invented slang, significantly above anonymous. Several years after the massive paradigm shift of Specials (2005), 15-year-old Asa Fuse investigates an urgent news story in hopes of boosting her public name recognition--of crucial importance in the celebrity-based system that has replaced Prettytime's cult of boring, brainless beauty. Asa draws the attention of the story's possibly dangerous subjects as well as that of Tally Youngblood, now a legendary figure. As usual, Westerfeld excels at creating a futuristic pop culture that feels thrillingly plausible; for instance, the reputation economy of Asa's Japanese city, based on citizens' blog traffic, cleverly pulls in real-world phenomena from Google rankings to reality TV's populist celebrities. Too many subsidiary characters and difficult-to-follow action sequences plague the plot's resolution, but such problems are unlikely to faze followers of this hot-ticket series, who will expect smart world building and rich themes--and will find both in spades. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2007 #6
Westerfeld begins this new entry in his Uglies series afresh -- with a new protagonist, Aya, who's an "extra" (face rank stuck in the mid-400,000s) in a city run on a "reputation economy." If Aya can win fame as a "kicker," reporting with her trusty hovercam on a story that captures the city's imagination, her face rank will soar and she might begin to match the wealth and acclaim of her renowned older brother. But things get complicated when Aya's big lead, a clique that courts death to surf the mag-lev trains, uncovers a potential city-killing weapon -- and even more complicated when Aya and her friends are kidnapped by the inhuman creatures who created it. That's when the legendary Tally Youngblood (Uglies; Pretties, rev. 11/05; Specials, rev. 9/06) steps in. As in So Yesterday (rev. 1/05), Westerfeld shows he has a finger on the pulse of our reputation economy, alchemizing the cult of celebrity, advertising's constant competition for consumer attention, and social networking technology like MySpace into a post-apocalyptic Japanese atopia that will engage gear-heads and philosophers alike. High-speed hoverboard chases and a wealth of cutting-edge wizardry such as nanos and smart matter keep the action popping, taking us on a thrilling joyride through Westerfeld's futuristic, technology-rich imagination. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2007 September #2
A thought-provoking add-on to the Uglies series. Three years have passed since the mind-rain, when Tally and the Cutters freed the world from bubblehead surgery. Now cities create their own cultures, blending old traditions (lost for centuries) and new technology. Fifteen-year-old Aya lives in a Japanese city structured on a reputation economy. Each person's fame rank (re-calculated constantly) determines their material capital, so getting noticed (for anything from a tech/fashion fad to groundbreaking science) is everyone's priority. Everyone except the Sly Girls--a clique doing mad physical tricks, but, shockingly, incognito. Attempting to kick (blog) their story, Aya discovers unrecognizable beings stockpiling missile-like objects. Are they surge-monkeys? Aliens? Or has society regressed to mass weaponry? When Tally and Shay appear, suspense heats up. Westerfeld excels at showing the emotional underpinnings of a fame economy: Aya experiences obscurity panic, feeling "unreal" unless her actions are recorded. The dénouement is thin and rushed, but the fast action, cool technology (eyescreens, manga faces) and spot-on relevance to contemporary Internet issues provide plenty of adrenaline. (Science fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 September #3
Extras wraps up Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. In this fourth outing, life has become an enormous digital reality show-a constant competition for attention and fame; against this backdrop, an unpopular 15-year-old "extra" stumbles upon an under-the-radar group called the Sly Girls and risks a perilous path to celebrity. (Simon Pulse, $16.99 432p ages 12-up ISBN 9781-4169-5117-9; Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2008 January
Gr 7 Up-- Westerfeld delivers another page-turner in the fourth book of his series, neatly tying previous narrative threads together with characters from former novels but allowing readers to enjoy this one with no prior knowledge of earlier books. In a society based on "face" (a social ranking), a 15-year-old "ugly" longs to be famous. With atypical teenage angst, Aya Fuse hatches a plan to "kick" herself into the top thousand most famous people. As she researches the Sly Girls who she saw riding the mag-lev on hoverboards, she stumbles into a much larger story involving city-killing missiles and strange nonhuman beings. Teens will find themselves drawn to Aya, who soon discovers, through her own experiences, that fame isn't everything and popularity comes with negatives that she hadn't before considered.--June H. Keuhn, Corning East High School, NY [Page 129]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2007 December
In the three years since Tally Youngblood caused the mind-rain that ended mind control, she has become the most popular person in the world. Japanese fifteen-year-old Aya wants to become famous because in her new society popularity means wealth. One becomes famous by "kicking" exciting stories on feeds that citizens read through their eyescreens. She decides to kick a story about the Sly Girls, anti-popularity daredevil girls who surf mag-lev (magnet levitated) trains on their hoverboards. On one surfing adventure, they see inhumans offloading missiles into a mountain vault. Upon further investigation, they find a mass-driver, designed to launch missiles. Could the missiles be City Killers? Aya kicks the story, becoming instantly famous. Tally reads it and pings Aya a warning that the inhumans are dangerous. Tally arrives, but is it to rescue Aya? Are the missiles really City Killers Westerfeld capitalizes on his popular Uglies series with a fourth, less-than-stellar, book. His characters Tally (whom Westerfeld transforms into a smug, unlikeable hero), Shay, and Faustus appear midway into the book. Aya and the other characters are unexciting. Although Aya's world, in which wealth is proportional to popularity, is contemporaneous, it does not draw in and sustain the reader. The ending is not compelling. The mystery of the missiles and the action sequences are the best parts of the book. This novel would have been better as a stand-alone book. Knowledge of the series is beneficial but not crucial for this fast read, which should attract reluctant readers, but Uglies fans will be disappointed.-Ed Goldberg 3Q 3P M J S Copyright 2007 Voya Reviews.